Monthly Archives: May 2008

Ikael Tafari Passes On – Will The Barbados Africa Connection Thrive Without Him?

Ikael Tafari Was Much More Than The Public Face Of The Regional Pan African Movement

Doctor Ikael Tafari passed on in Trinidad while attending a conference. The Nation News article (link here) provides some family and personal background but cannot even begin to cover his life’s work as the driving Caribbean force for Pan Africanism and closer ties with Africa.

We at Barbados Free Press had often disagreed with Doctor Tafari but respected his energy and devotion to his cause. Most of us live and die without impacting the larger world, but that cannot be said about Ikael Tafari. It would be foolish to say that the “Pan African” movement in the Caribbean depends upon any one person, but movements often wax and wane over the years on the basis of a single leader.

None of us at BFP can guess at how the loss of Ikael Tafari will impact the Caribbean Pan African Movement. We are not only thinking of his management and support of the Commission for Pan African Affairs, we are also considering Ikael Tafari’s role as the ideological crusader for the movement.

Dr. Tafari Had Been Removed As CPAA Director Within The Past Few Days

As recently as May 27, 2008, the Nation News reported that Doctor Tafari spoke as the Director of the Commission for Pan African Affairs (CPAA) at the May 25th African Liberation Day Rally in Jubilee Gardens. Today’s article in the Nation News says that Tafari had been recently fired from his position as Director, so it seems that he died within a day or so of being fired.

Perhaps the sudden change in his life weighed heavily upon his heart, or maybe it had nothing to do with his death – details of which are unknown at the time of this writing.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to his family.

Some of our readers left their respects, which we reprint here…

Rumplestilskin
May 31, 2008 at 9:39 am
His soul has moved on to further existence.

May his journey be good.

Justice
May 31, 2008 at 2:07 pm
May he rest in peace. He was faithful to his beliefs.

Margaret Knight
May 31, 2008 at 3:34 pm
Sincere condolences to the Hutchinson and Hynam families.

92 Comments

Filed under Africa, Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Ghana, History, Immigration, Jamaica, Nigeria, Race, Religion, Slavery

Guy Hewitt: Remember The Poor

Speak up and judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy. Proverbs 31:9

The recent news report that poverty in Haiti was driving people to eat mud is one of the most disturbing accounts on the impact of the growing gulf between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ in this world. With first hand experience of street children in India and AIDS orphans in Southern Africa, I am acutely aware of the devastation that poverty causes.

But we don’t have to venture far to encounter victims of poverty. The 1996/97 Poverty Survey in Barbados indicated that 7,000 households or 35,000 Barbadians were living below the poverty line.

In the absence of more recent data, we are left to wonder how many more Barbadians have entered the ranks of the poor and vulnerable. Even though there have been considerable gains locally in the physical and economic infrastructure, our social infrastructure is in acute need of attention.

The appointment of Undene Whittaker as the adviser to Government on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is to be applauded. She, like her predecessor, is a powerful advocate for the disadvantaged. But more importantly her appointment symbolises our Government’s continued commitment to the poor and disadvantaged of our nation. But this is by no means enough.

In 2000, global leaders, including the then Prime Minister of Barbados, gathered at the United Nations to commit themselves to the Millennium Declaration, a statement of intent to reduce poverty by 2015 through eight ambitious goals and targets to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and discrimination against women.

However, the report card in 2008 at the halfway mark is not inspiring. Today, the gap between the worlds’ rich and poor is now wider. Global injustices such as poverty, AIDS, malnutrition, conflict and illiteracy remain rife. Extreme poverty kills more that 30,000 people each day as a result of disease, lack of medicine and unsafe drinking water.

Nelson Mandela, at the Make Poverty History campaign in London in 2005, condemned poverty and inequality as “terrible scourges of our times” which “rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils.”

Notwithstanding the biblical teaching, the poor need not always be with us. There is an appreciation that today’s poverty is not a Divine imposition but largely a man-made phenomenon and as such can be eradicated.

The Gospel and our ethical principles place service to the poor and vulnerable at the centre of our Christian life and witness. As exemplified in the parable of the Good Samaritan, we are all called to love our neighbour.

Recently, I encountered a situation of a young student at one of our older secondary schools who goes to school hungry almost every day. Worse yet, this was not an isolated case. As a prospering nation, our collective response to those in need is grossly inadequate.

If we are to eradicate poverty in Barbados, each of us has a role to play. However, dealing with poverty is not an easy work nor is it often comfortable. We are often left feeling hopeless or powerless. We despair when confronted by a seemingly insurmountable task, made more difficult by a largely indifferent humanity. But we will surely fail if we lose hope.

Jeffrey Sachs, a renowned economist and UN adviser, in his book The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time provides reason to be optimistic. He lays out an attainable plan for ending extreme poverty in 20 years. If we work together, our collective effort will eradicate poverty.

To eradicate poverty a total-person approach (TPA), as emphasised by Jesus of Nazareth, is required. Jesus healed the sick and fed the hungry while teaching them how to find meaning and fulfilment through faith. A TPA is an integrated response to people’s physical, psychological, and spiritual needs.

Increasingly, poverty eradication programmes are concentrating on this approach, holding to the time-honoured philosophy that if you give someone a fish you can feed them for a day but if you also teach them how to fish you can feed them for a lifetime.

Any success in eradicating poverty in Barbados will require the commitment and action all major stakeholders in our society to the plight of the poor.

Our Government will be needed to design and implement the appropriate public policies. Our private sector, unions and other economic actors will be needed to help generate the necessary resources. Our churches, faith-based and other community organisations, will be needed to encourage faith, hope and charity. But ultimately, all of us will be needed to get involved in some way.

Remembering that the most significant advances in human history have been the consequence of the small steps taken by ordinary people, each of us needs to take that vital step an become our brothers and sisters keeper.

May God continue to guide us.

Guy Hewitt

Guy Hewitt is a minister of religion and social development specialist. He can be contacted on <guyhewitt@gmail.com>

8 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Ethics, Human Rights, Religion

UK’s New Statesman Magazine: “Barbados Citizens Living On The Edge Of Darkness” Due To Violence

In our opinion, the New Statesman goes overboard in lumping Barbados in with Jamaica and Trinidad – but
author Darcus Howe does cause a few shivers to run up my back when he says that Barbados is where Trinidad was ten years ago with the onset of gang violence.

Come to think of it, did we ever hear of tourists being stopped and “tolls” demanded even five years ago? It is a daily occurrence in the north of our island now.

You may not agree with everything that Mr. Howe has to say, but I’ll wager you won’t disagree with much either.

Also quoted is Christ Church East MP Denis Lowe, who said this about violence in his constituency: “In the Silver Sands/Inch Marlow area there is now a proliferation of intercommunity rivalry [by which he meant gang violence involving guns and knives] . . . and it is reaching dangerous proportions. In Parish Land the same is true, and that has reached boiling point now, where residents are being affected by it.”

New Statesman: When Law and Order Break Down

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, Traveling and Tourism

Guyana Government’s Death Squads Have An Important Lesson For Barbados

Guyana Government Hired Death Squads When The Police Failed To Curb Crime

News is coming out of Guyana and New York that the Government of Guyana sponsored death squads that summarily executed over 200 persons in the last few years.

Now, doesn’t that just make you want to take a vacation in Guyana?

How did that start in Guyana?

Easy… successive governments decided that policing and the rule of law were not that important. Endemic corruption in the political and judicial systems made it impossible for honest and hard-working police officers to accomplish their mission. Low pay and little training made sure that Guyana’s police were unable to attract and retain high quality personnel.

So when it all fell apart, the government decided that death squads were the way to go. And, just like Jamaica, we now see the rise of turf areas where the police don’t go. And just like the turf areas in Jamaica, “village policing” and settling of disputes are handled by the thugs who often have far more respect from the populace than the government.

We have said time and time again at Barbados Free Press that our police are the foundation for everything we have on this island. Unless Barbados remains a relatively safe holiday destination, our foreign currency will dry up overnight. You think things are getting a little tough now? Imagine if the tourists stopped coming.

Look at it this way folks – Barbados is at the very end of the world for North American and European tourists wanting a Caribbean vacation. There are many other islands that are closer to our major markets and thus cheaper to get to. There are many other Caribbean islands that are as beautiful as Barbados – maybe even more so. (Ok… we won’t go there.)

The ONE SPECIAL THING we have that attracts the tourists and the offshore financial business is that we have always been a safe destination. Others are closer, prettier and have beautiful beaches and the same sun we all share. But on some of these other beaches, there are guards with machine-guns to keep the tourists safe.

Not here in Barbados, though.

At least – not yet.

But things are changing all over and Barbados is not exempt from those influences. We hope that the new government recognises how fragile everything is. The Royal Barbados Police Force needs a massive injection in funding – to immediately increase salaries by about 50%, and to provide training and modern equipment.

Because without an effective police force – it will all fall apart.

Thanks to Barbados Underground for discovering the Caribbean360.com article on the Guyana death squads.

Read what David has to say about the Guyana death squads at Barbados Underground: Guyana Officials Fingered in Plot To Purge Criminal

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Corruption, Crime & Law, Human Rights, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Government Hypocrisy: Condoms, AIDS, HIV and Dodds Prison

Updated: December 13, 2010

The Nation newspaper recently revealed that a Cadres Poll conducted in 2004 showed that the vast majority of Bajans are tolerant or accepting of homosexuals. No wonder the poll was withheld from the public for six years. The social-engineering elites decided that citizens aren’t intelligent enough to deal with the truth about where they and the majority of their neighbours stand on same-sex love. Why the poll is being released now is as much a question as why it was hidden for six years – but that is a side issue.

True to the “conflict sells” tabloid journalism that we appreciate so much at BFP, when The Nation published their recent story about the hidden Cadres Poll, Homosexuality debate rages in Barbados, they also sought out a fire-breathing dragon of a Pastor for some comments.

Baptist minister Reverend Vincent Wood warned of homosexuals hiding everywhere: in government, church, education and the medical professions. According to Reverend Wood, homosexuals are “weeds” hiding amongst us, who entice “normal” people into sinful relationships to further their careers.

Hey… I’m just reporting what the good Minister said, hear? (That’s him in the photo above, courtesy of The Nation.)

Now… let it be known that I understand where the Reverend is coming from. I held his position up until about 15 years ago when a couple of life-changing events caused me to look at the world through different eyes. Nothing to do directly with homosexuals – I started to see the world differently when I began to think in terms of reality rather than the theoretical. Academics deal with theory. Realists deal with reality and I decided I’d throw in with the realists.

So I’d like to pose a question for Reverend Wood. Here it is…

Sir, you are now in charge of Dodds Prison. You have to decide whether or not to allow the issuing of condoms to prisoners. You don’t want to make condoms available because you believe that homosexual relationships are morally wrong and against the word of The Lord as revealed in the Bible.

BUT > you know that whether or not you issue condoms, men in Dodds Prison will have consensual sex – and if they don’t have access to condoms, people are going to get HIV, spread it through the prison population and on the island when they are released from prison. People are going to die.

Reverend Wood: you can prevent the deaths if you issue condoms to the inmates at Dodds.

What is your decision, Reverend Wood? This is no theory. This is reality. Whatcha gonna do?

Original article first published May 28, 2008…

Barbados Government Minister Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo Says Condoms Are A Valid HIV-AIDS Prevention Strategy For Everyone – Except For Men In Prison

The hypocrisy, lies and horse manure being spread by Dr. Byer-Suckoo and the Barbados Government would be humorous – except that real people are going to die because of it. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Government, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Ethics, Health, Politics, Religion

BFP Reader Needs Free Legal Advice…

I have been working in a financial institution for ten years, I have been in my latest post with this company for two and half years. My superior told me that I have not been made redundant, but my job has been so! I am still with the company and actively working in a new role. More recently, an internal advertisement was placed for this latest role I am currently doing, however I was not short-listed for it. Now the job has been advertised externally, and I believe I am facing the sack.

I feel I have a grievance concerning my employment. Do we have any legislation here in Barbados which might be used to assist me in pursuing my grievance? I do not want to give more information at the present time, but would be interested in any readers’ comments here. Many thanks, BFP,  in advance for your time used in considering this issue, and if you decide to publish my post.

15 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

Want To Reduce The Cost Of Barbados Chicken? Ban The Addition Of Water…

Robert Lucas Takes On The B-B-BockBados Chicken Cartel!

Dear Sir/Madam, The Editor

Listening to the Prime Minister’s address yesterday, pertaining to the cost of chicken, I was under the impression that, when he referred to the Barbados Agricultural Development Marketing Corporation’s (BADMC) importation of chicken, it meant whole chicken. I was disabused of this impression on reading (The Barbados Advocate) newspaper of the 27th, May 2008 (where) it was revealed that, chicken wings were the item alluded to.

The importation of chicken wings is not a new feature. This was allowed in the past, but was suspended as a result of lobbying on the part of the Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers (BEPP) under the aegis of the last minister of agriculture.

I can only speak for myself. I have a problem with a minority of the population holding the country up for ransom.

The position is always that, the industry provides jobs and what will happen if importation of whole-chicken is allowed. One has the ridiculous situation where a chicken costs more than twenty-dollars. What is going to happen, when the price of oil reaches US $ 200.00 per barrel? At some point, protectionism of this industry must stop. This has to happen if the cost of living in this country is to come down.

Removing the price control on whole chicken is only going to result in an increase in the costs to the consumer. The Prime Minister has stated that the importation of wings is primarily aimed at buttressing the lower level of society against the rapid rise in the cost of living. Since we are all Barbadians, should not all of us be buttressed?

The Prime Minister should also be insisting that the addition of water to poultry be banned, if he wants there to be an immediate reduction in the cost of living. This causes me to pose the question of who does Mr. James Paul represents? Does he represent his constituents or the Barbados agricultural Society (BAS)? At some point, the concerns of his constituents and those of the BAS must diverge. Who is he going to side with?

In the past, I have on numerous occasions, in your newspaper, stated my position vis-à-vis the local poultry industry. I am opposed to the industry as it is currently structured. I have stated that, the industry is an artificial one and that, the only local inputs are labour, water and some cement, the latter being used to make the foundation of the pens . I have also stated that, the local feed plant is actually a cartel, since the major owners of it are also involved in poultry rearing (either solely or by means of a form of share-cropping), slaughtering and distribution. The local feed plant can sell its product at whatever price it wants. One of my main points of contention against the local poultry industry and by extension the feed plant is the fact that, no effort has been made locally to develop rations for the industry.

Sincerely

Robert D. Lucas, PH.D.
Food Bio-technologist.

50 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business